Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on May 1, 2005
Shy Juliet Dove leaves Mr. Elives' magic shop with Helen of Troy's amulet--a virtual man magnet. Juliet doesn't know what she's got, but soon every boy in town is swoony for her. Yet, much as she'd like to lose all the unwanted attention, she can't: The amulet won't come off!
A sidesplittingly funny, heartbreaking whirlwind of a book about the high cost of loving, from the award-winning author of My Teacher Is an Alien and The Unicorn Chronicles.
When I was a kid there were four books in the Magic Shop Series. JEREMY THATCHER DRAGON HATCHER (the most well known), THE SKULL OF TRUTH (second), THE MONSTER’S RING, and JENNIFER MURDLEY’S TOAD. I read the first three over and over, particularly SKULL. They were some of my favorite books. I’d even gotten the audiobooks out of the library and listen to them as I was falling asleep.
Much later I discovered this, the 5th book in the Magic Shop Series. JULIET DOVE, QUEEN OF LOVE. Buy then I think I was at least in high school, if not college, pretty far from the series’ target audience. But I still remembered my hunger for more of this series. Still adored Coville. So of course I had to read it.
JULIET DOVE is a perfect addition to the series. Regardless of the fact that I don’t have the long history with it like I do the earlier books in the series, I still enjoy it. It’s still better than JENNIFER MURDLEY, after all, which still remains my least favorite of the 5 books.
This book is probably the lightest of the set. Juliet isn’t a liar like Charlie, isn’t a prankster like Russell, doesn’t hate herself like Jennifer. She’s more on par with Jeremy, though she has never set a teacher’s foot on fire via dragon. She does, however, receive an amulet that makes her irresistible to the middle school boys she comes across. Poor girl.
This book takes a little bit of its inspiration, and its mythology, from the ancient Greeks. It brings in Cupid and Psyche, characters that many middle grade readers might not be familiar with. This is one of the things I love about Coville. He’ll introduce concepts and characters from other literature, such as Shakespeare, to his young audience. As a kid reading SKULL OF TRUTH made me interested in HAMLET, and I’m sure (if I hadn’t already loved Greek mythology) this book would have had a similar effect.
I will always love Coville’s books. One of my happiest moments was getting the chance to meet him as an adult, listen to him speak, and have him sign my Magic Shop Books. I will never forget that moment. I only hope his books will continue to have that kind of staying power for decades more so other kids get to enjoy this world and the others I fell in love with when I was 8.
What is one of your favorite nostalgic series? Share them in the comments below.
From my shelf to yours,